China says Exim Bank and Sri Lanka reached preliminary debt deal
China said one of its financial institutions has reached a preliminary agreement with Sri Lanka on resolving China-related debt, a potentially major step toward resolving the South Asian nation’s fiscal woes.
The deal involving Export-Import Bank of China was reached late last month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Tuesday at a regular press briefing in Beijing. Wang didn’t give details on how the debt was resolved, and officials in Sri Lanka didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.
“Chinese financial institutions have fully participated in creditors’ meetings as observers, maintain friendly communication with other creditors and have shared developments on debt disposal,” Wang said.
The deal puts Sri Lanka closer to completing its debt restructuring, as the nation boosts efforts to win agreements with other creditors such as Japan and India, as well as with holders of its foreign bonds. China accounts for about 52% of the bankrupt nation’s bilateral debt. Reaching a deal quickly will allow Sri Lanka to keep tapping funds from its $3 billion bailout program with the International Monetary Fund.
Sri Lankan dollar bonds due 2030 were steady at 45.8 cents on the dollar. The nation’s dollar bonds had returned more than 50% this year, according to a Bloomberg index.
Bloomberg News reported last month that some members on the committee of Sri Lanka’s official creditors were pushing to reach a deal to restructure the nation’s debt without China’s participation.
The members wanted the group of major creditors to sign a memorandum of understanding with Sri Lanka around the time of the IMF and World Bank meetings which are ongoing in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Separately, Sri Lanka may be able to draw the outlines of a deal with holders of its defaulted dollar bonds as early as this month, Bloomberg reported in September.
Sri Lanka in September agreed to restructure about $10 billion of local debt.
Latest Headlines in Sri Lanka
- DIG Nalaka de Silva released from case over alleged VIP assassination plot December 6, 2023
- Pressure grows on UK over British Museum treasures as Netherlands returns major colonial artefacts December 6, 2023
- Police officer takes his own life at Peliyagoda Interchange of Katunayake Expressway December 6, 2023
- Sagala asks officials about progress of Beira Lake Development Project December 6, 2023
- Sri Lanka to receive about $600 million ADB funding post-IMF approval – official December 6, 2023